Home (?)

May 6, 2015

the traveling anthropologist Coming home is a funny thing. For a long time all I wanted was to come home; to be back cooking in my little kitchen, playing with our neighbourhood cat and sharing a bottle of red wine with Guy. Gradually the longing subsided as I adjusted to my new home in Laos and established new routines. I fell head over heels in love with my job, developed close friendships and learned to stand on my own two feet in a way that I hadn’t previously. When it came time to leave Vientiane I surprised myself (and everyone else) with how sad I felt. I hadn’t realised just how much I loved parts of my life there. Then came Bali where I spent a wonderful couple of weeks in a bubble of Guy, sunshine and beer. The first few days back in New Zealand were a blur of catching up with people, and finally after a week I arrived home — back in Wellington. I was surprised with a spotless house, tickets to a concert, my favourite wine and a visit from Chico the local cat. The next day we went to the farmers market together (a rarity) and had our friends round for a barbeque. Life was great and I was happy to be home.

Monday morning I woke up with a long list of things I wanted to do (clean the house, unpack my bags, sort through my wardrobe, tackle the garden, look for a job, practice yoga…). I had a productive day but felt strangely restless and a little sad. That night I cried, then lay awake in bed for hours. The next day I felt even worse so I went for a jog and did some yoga but neither made me feel any better. I still had a long list of things I wanted to bake, cook and sort through and it was another productive day that we ended with a picnic on the beach watching the sunset. I cried sitting in Guys arms and later that night cried myself to sleep. Wednesday morning I again woke feeling sad and exhausted. I spent the day in the garden and gradually I started to realise why I felt so out of sorts; I was homesick.

It’s strange to think and even more strange to say that I miss Laos and the life I had there. How can you be homesick for a place that you never considered home? I keep reminding myself that it’s a positive thing — it’s nice to miss something because of good memories rather than only thinking of it negatively. I also keep reminding myself that change is good, change is growth, change is a chance for a new adventure.

the traveling anthropologist

I wrote this about four months ago when I first came home to New Zealand.  It’s strange looking back on it, I can still remember exactly how painful that transition was for me.  Sometimes I think I’m still going through it.  Although, I’m happy to be here I still have a soft and gentle longing for my life in Laos sometimes.  I miss the freedom of being in a place where you don’t know anyone, I miss making new friends almost every day, I miss the excitement of getting a letter from a friend and I miss how cheap life was.  I’m beginning to think that’s the blessing and the curse of being a traveler.  We are fortunate enough to live the life we want, yet we will forever have restless souls. I for one, am happy to make that sacrifice.

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